Since I got the first shot, I’ve been trying to understand the invisible effects of the pandemic on me. I know, solipsistic, but something’s happened. COVID-19 appeared in Colorado almost exactly a year ago, March 5, though now it’s believed it was here in January. I remember taking a long walk (big surprise) and thinking about what it would mean for me. I believed that my responsibility to the world and my community was simply not to get sick. Our hospitals are small and since I am not obliged to do anything like go to work, and I’m not caring for anyone, I could easily “isolate” and I did.
I’m sure everyone’s “Covid story” follows a pattern and it’s likely our patterns are somewhat similar.
In my small life the pattern is essentially the same as depicted in these memes, but with some differences. The second image (going left from the top) is everyone around me scurrying to make masks for our hospitals and discussing what we all could do. The image bottom left is everyone realizing that this isn’t going away any time soon and feeling haggard, tired and a little betrayed. This isn’t supposed to happen to us!!! The bottom right is resignation. I hit the Nutella in picture two, top, but decided that was a bad idea unless I wanted to buy a lot of new clothes. It’s amazing, though, how many psychological problems are healed by Nutella. I hit the bottom left picture (middle version) a few days ago when I woke up thinking, “I want that damned shot NOW!” I’m still there.
The shot left my arm very sore and me very tired for three days. It also shoved in front of me the reality that this life I’ve chosen, and to which I’ve adapted, is going to come to an end. Since I have come to understand through this year (thanks to the cranes) that what matters most in life is life itself, specifically my life, I’ve been wondering if many of the things we do are nothing more than time fillers and illusions. We need human connection, but, at the same time there is no human connection without human life. That was one of the first things that struck me on those early COVID walks. “If I’m not here any more, then I’m not hanging out with my friends.”
The sudden and necessary prioritization of self was shocking until I realized that we rely on others to take care of themselves. That’s what makes a person trustworthy, knowing that that person is NOT going to throw him/herself willy-nilly into oblivion. That is (I think) why sane people reacted so vehemently to DJT (jokingly?) telling people to inject bleach and Dr. Scarf not standing up for medical science (and herself). Deep inside each creature (I believe) is a small wise voice saying, “There’s a meteorite around every corner. Break the ice in the trough or die.” I see the cattle out there finding the ONE warm place, a pile of dung, on which to lie during the deep cold.
I’m not the same person I was in March 2020, and I’m not sure I want to “return” to that person. I can’t NOT know what I’ve learned in this interval. Are you the same person or has this experience launched you into self-discovery, too?
In other news, here’s a video that shows what Akbash dogs (like Bear) do when they have a job: